Following are excerpts from Congressman John Boehner's (R-West Chester) address on national security, set to be delivered today at 2:10pm EST in Milwaukee, WI at the 92nd American Legion National Convention, in advance of President Obama's Oval Office Address to the Nation on Iraq:
IRAQ: "This day belongs to our troops, whose courage and sacrifices have made the transition to a new mission in Iraq possible. When General Petraeus embarked on the surge strategy in January 2007, it was widely viewed as our last chance to save Iraq from spiraling into an irreversible descent toward chaos. The consequences of failure then, as now, were severe. Some leaders who opposed, criticized, and fought tooth-and-nail to stop the surge strategy now proudly claim credit for the results. Today we mark not the defeat those voices anticipated -- but progress."
AFGHANISTAN: "I support our counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, but the president must do more to emphasize his commitment to ensuring its success rather than focusing on meeting arbitrary deadlines for withdrawal. Using campaign promises as yardsticks to measure success in Iraq and Afghanistan runs the risk of triggering artificial victory laps and premature withdrawal dates unconnected to conditions on the ground."
MIDDLE EAST: Iran is more than prepared to sacrifice the well-being of its people for the chance to fundamentally change the balance of power in the region. It is the true source of instability in the region, and we must not naively assume a nuclear-armed Iran would be containable. America has stood by Israel since Harry Truman sat in the Oval Office. Our commitment to this long-standing friendship should be no less strong today. Where I come from, you stick by your friends, you stick by people who share your values. You do not send a message of strength to your enemies by shunning your friends and allies."
ECONOMY: Today, as thousands of our warriors come home seeking to provide for their families and realize the American Dream they have volunteered to defend, they confront an economy that affords neither opportunities nor jobs. Veterans' unemployment is now at 11 percent. That is why I have called on my colleagues in the Congress and the president to join me in supporting a series of immediate actions to end the ongoing economic uncertainty and help more Americans find an honest day's work. "Stimulus' spending sprees, permanent bailouts, federal mandates and government takeovers have failed this nation and have failed our veterans."